Higher Sodium + Adequate Calcium is Not Detrimental for Bone in Women


Higher habitual sodium intake is not detrimental for bones in older women with adequate calcium intake.

Based on the calciuric effect of sodium (Na), it has been speculated, although not proven, that higher Na intake might have a detrimental effect on bone health. The objective was to determine the relationship between Na intake (expressed as urinary Na) and bone mineral density/content (BMD/BMC) during a 3-year study. Participants were healthy, postmenopausal, Caucasian women (n = 136 at baseline) with no medications affecting bone. After baseline screening, half were instructed to reduce sodium intake to approximately 1,500 mg/day (intervention). The other half remained on habitual intake of approximately 3,000 mg/day (control). All subjects were given calcium and vitamin D supplements to achieve recommended levels. Anthropometries, densitometry, blood and 24-h urine analyses, and dietary and activity records were assessed every 6 months. Data were analyzed as a continuum, irrespective of the initial assignment to a control or intervention group, using random effects regressions with repeated measures analysis of variance to examine changes over time. Results showed that subjects with higher Na intake had higher BMD in the forearm and spine at baseline and all subsequent time-points (p < 0.01). In the forearm, time and higher urinary calcium modified results, producing a curvilinear decrease in BMD (p < 0.01). In the spine, more active individuals had higher BMD at all time-points. We conclude that higher sodium intake, within the range consumed, had a positive effect on some skeletal sites and no adverse effect on bone in women who had adequate calcium and vitamin D intake.

Ilich JZ, Brownbill RA, Coster DC
Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Jul 2010
PMID: 20217116

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